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Stop.Think.Connect.: Lookout for Cyber Monday Scams

Turkey, pumpkin pie, and football aren’t the only things that are part of many Americans’ Thanksgiving traditions. Deals and bargain prices have also become a part of the holiday season, and more people are going online to find them.

Cyber Monday—the Monday after Thanksgiving—is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, providing a golden opportunity for scammers and spammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers. On Cyber Monday, hackers may use tactics like preying on popular keyword searches to lure shoppers to malicious websites, with the goal of collecting financial and personal information.

These simple tips can help protect your personal information and transactions on Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season:

  • Keep your computer, browser, anti-virus and other critical software up to date.
  • Only buy from reputable sites and pay attention to URLs. Malicious websites may look similar to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net). Also look in the address box for the "s" in https:// before any transaction. That “s” tells you that the site is taking extra measures to help secure your information.
  • Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Use caution when opening email attachments and do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages and pay special attention to extremely low prices on hard-to-get items.
  • Check privacy policies. Before providing personal or financial information, check the website's privacy policy to ensure your safety.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card. There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, and you may not have the same level of protection when using your debit card.
  • Keep a record of your order. Retain all documentation from the order in the event your purchase does not ship or if there are unauthorized charges on your bill.
  • Check your statements. Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

Stop.Think.Connect.™ is a national public awareness effort to guide the nation to a higher level of Internet safety and security by educating and empowering Americans to be more vigilant about practicing safe online habits. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and we are all called on to ACT or Achieve Cybersecurity Together. For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

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